The Atlanta Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-29 Sunday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to advance to 2-1 in the NFC South. K Matt Bryant connected on a 57-yarder at the end of the fourth quarter, recording the third-longest FG attempt of his career, to give the Falcons a six-point lead with 1:10 left on the clock. Tampa Bay had a 68-yard drive before the Falcons defense stopped them as time ran out.
Matt Ryan completed 31-of-41 (75.6 percent) for 354 yards and three touchdowns against the Buccaneers. Ryan began the game with 12 consecutive completions, his second-longest streak to start a game since he connected on 13 consecutive throws against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 22, 2012. His touchdown pass to RB Tevin Coleman in the fourth quarter marked the 274th touchdown pass of his career, surpassing Joe Montana for 16th-most touchdown passes in NFL history.
“It’s very special anytime your name is brought up with Joe Montana,” Ryan said. “I’ve gotten to know him a little bit throughout my career and he’s one of the best guys you could ever meet.”
WR Julio Jones registered 10 receptions for 143 yards, marking his third game this season with 100-plus receiving yards and the 42nd of his career. This season, the eight-year veteran has 707 yards, the most in the NFL.
“I just do my job, that’s it. There’s no extra on us,” said Jones. “We know we are going to come out and play for each other.”
Even though the Bucs staged a late comeback, the dirty birds couldn’t exhale until that last ditch effort in laterals was a failure. After they contained that Jameis Winston scramble, they could finally put their minds at ease. The victory also snaps a three-game losing streak.
“We knew that they were going to lateral it at the end,” said Falcons S Damontae Kazee. “Once we saw him run he had to lateral it, as soon as it went out of bounds there was a lot of stress released.”
The Falcons will be back in action for Monday Night Football next Monday, October 22, when they host the visiting New York Giants.
Photo: Hakim Wright